Table of Contents > College of Arts & Sciences

Chairperson: Professor Fran Connors, Office: 348 Gordon Palmer Hall
Director of Graduate Studies: Professor Ed Merrill, Office: 348 Gordon Palmer Hall

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The department offers programs leading to the doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree in clinical psychology and in experimental psychology. The clinical psychology program is accredited by the American Psychological Association. Concentrations in clinical psychology include child clinical, health psychology, geropsychology, and psychology/law. Concentrations in experimental psychology include cognitive, social, and developmental science. The developmental science concentration is in collaboration with the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.
Areas of current faculty research interest include aging, child and adolescent behavior and peer relationships, youth violence, forensic psychology, behavioral intervention, memory, chronic pain, depression, public health psychology, cultural diversity, health disparities, sleep, neuropsychology, visual-spatial cognition, emotion, autism, persuasion, unconscious cognition, risk assessment, personality, reading processes, social cognition, health attitudes, dehumanization, perception, cognitive aging, cognitive neuroscience, intellectual abilities, media psychology, and creativity.

The department operates a fully staffed psychology clinic offering psychological assessment and intervention services to University students, children, and adults. These facilities are also used in the training of clinical graduate students as professional psychologists. Each candidate for the PhD degree in clinical psychology takes practicum courses in the psychological clinic and must also complete a one-year internship in an accredited facility. The internship is taken after completion of coursework and passing of the doctoral preliminary exam and is a degree requirement.

Admission Requirements
Students applying for graduate work in psychology must present at a minimum undergraduate courses in general psychology, statistics, and experimental psychology (or research methods). In addition, it is desirable for students to have prior coursework in a laboratory science (particularly biology), college mathematics, and in the area of a their intended concentration.
Applications for admission to graduate study must be accompanied by Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores (the advanced section is recommended for clinical applicants). Admission is competitive and is influenced by the overall quality of the applicant's record, including grades, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, past experience, and match between the students and faculty interests. The application deadline is December 1 for the clinical psychology program and December 15 for the experimental psychology program. Complete applications must be received by these deadlines to ensure full consideration for admission for the following term.


Additional information is in the Admission Criteria section of this catalog.

Degree Requirements

Students earn the MA degree en route to the PhD, and they are required to follow Plan I. The MA degree is awarded after twenty-four credit hours of coursework, six credit hours of thesis, and an approved completed thesis. The 24 hours of coursework may vary by concentration, but must include the following:

  • PY 602 Advanced Statistics I
  • PY 607 Research Methods in Psychology

The student's PhD Plan of Study must be approved by the department and the Graduate School by the time the student completes 30 graduate semester hours of UA and/or transfer course work; otherwise, a "hold" may be placed on future registration. The minimum number of credit hours required for the PhD in psychology varies by concentration. All graduate students complete the General Psychology Core, the Research Skills Core, a master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation. In addition, clinical students complete the Clinical Core and a year-long clinical internship. Students in each of the clinical and experimental concentrations also complete advanced coursework in their concentration. More detailed information is available at the Department of Psychology website.


Additional information is in the Degree Requirements section of this catalog.

General Psychology Core:

  • PY 650 Cognition and Learning

  • PY 651 Physiological Psychology or PY 629 Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Two of: PY 670 Perception, PY 652 Life-Span Developmental Psychology, PY 672 Advanced Social Psychology (some concentrations require a specific course from this set)

  • PY 471 History and Systems if not taken as an undergraduate

Research Skills Core:

  • PY 607 Research Methods in Psychology

  • PY 602 Advanced Statistics I

  • PY 603 Advanced Statistics II

  • One of: PY 604 Multivariate Methods of Analysis, PY 659/BER 558 Psychometrics, BER 646 Structural Equations Modeling, or approved alternative

Advanced Coursework as applicable (see details at the Psychology website): 

  • Clinical Core (required for clinical only)

  • PY 695 Teaching of Psychology (required for Experimental, optional for clinical)

  • Advanced Coursework in Student's Concentration

Thesis and Dissertation Hours:

  • PY 599 Thesis research (6 hours)

  • PY 699 Dissertation research (24 hours)

Graduate Minor.


Doctoral students in other departments may complete a graduate minor in psychology. A graduate minor in psychology shall consist of 12 graduate hours, at least 6 of which are to be selected from among PY 650 Cognition and Learning; PY 670 Perception; PY 672 Advanced Social Psychology; PY 652 Life-Span Developmental Psychology; and PY 651 Physiological Psychology or PY 629 Cognitive Neuroscience. Other courses available to minors and offered on a regular basis are PY 693 Advanced Seminar in General Psychology, PY 591 Senior Seminar in Psychologys, and statistics courses PY 602, PY 603, PY 604, PY 659. Occasionally other courses will be offered that will count towards the minor. All courses require the permission of the director of graduate studies and the course instructor. Many courses have specific prerequisites.
Students seeking a minor in psychology must be in good standing and at the second year or beyond in residency in a University of Alabama doctoral program. Students must achieve a 3.00 GPA in the minor, with only one grade of "C." No grade below "C" will count toward the minor. No more than 6 hours may be transferred from a department of psychology in another institution. The director of graduate studies shall determine who is accepted for a minor program of study and shall determine the appropriate courses to be taken in a timely manner. In addition, the director shall certify a completed minor to the Graduate School and to the home department.

Course Descriptions
General prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of both the director of graduate studies and the instructor. Graduate students enrolled in 500-level courses that are also offered at the 400 level are expected to perform extra work of an appropriate nature.

PY502 Introduction to Data Analysis. Three hours.

Course focuses on training the skills that are most useful to data analysts, including data management, the use of statistical software to conduct analyses, and the interpretation and presentation of statistical results.


PY503 Advanced Data Analysis. Three hours.

Prerequisite: PY502.

Provides students with the ability to conduct and interpret more advanced statistical analyses. The focus is on the General Linear Model, but also includes other analyses such as logistic regression and factor analysis.

PY 581 Readings in Psychology. One to three hours.
Prerequisite: Permission and sponsorship of an instructor.
Selected supervised readings.

PY 591 Seminar in Psychology. One to three hours.
In-depth examination of a selected contemporary psychological area. Different sections offered each semester. Section descriptions are available at registration.

PY 598 Graduate Research. One to three hours.
Prerequisite: Permission and sponsorship of an instructor.
Research conducted in apprenticeship to a graduate faculty member.

PY 599 Thesis Research. Variable credit.

PY 602 Advanced Statistics I. Three hours.
An applied course explaining how to use categorical predictor variables to explain continuous response variables. Covers t-tests, ANOVA, and nonparametric alternatives in between-, within-, and mixed-model designs.

PY 603 Advanced Statistics II. Three hours.
Prerequisite: PY 602.
An applied course explaining how to use continuous predictor variables to explain continuous response variables. Covers correlation, regression, and general linear models including both categorical and continuous predictor variables.

PY 604 Multivariate Methods of Analysis. Three hours.
Prerequisites: PY 602 and PY 603.
Multivariate analysis, with emphasis on MANOVA, discriminant analysis, canonical correlation, and the multivibrate approach to repeated measures analyses.

PY 607 Research Methods in Psychology. Three hours.
Study and analysis of psychological methodology.

PY 608 Introduction to Ethics. Three hours.
Prerequisite: First- or second-year graduate student in psychology.
Introduction to ethical issues as they affect the practice of psychology.

PY 609 Psychological Assessment I. Three hours.
Principles of psychological evaluation; introduction to the clinical use of assessment techniques, with particular emphasis on intellectual assessment.

PY 610 Psychological Assessment II. Three hours.
The theory and application of projective techniques and personality inventories for adults.

PY 611 Introduction to Neuropsychological Assessment. Three hours.
An introduction to the theory, content, and practice of clinical neuropsychology.

PY 612 Psychological Assessment III. Three hours.
Principles of psychological evaluation, with particular emphasis on the assessment of children.


PY 614 Categorical Data Analysis.  Three hours.

The use of statistical analysis tools for analyzing binary and categorical data.

PY 619 Principles of Psychotherapy. Three hours.
The study of psychotherapeutic processes, outcomes, and systems, with particular attention given to the operations common to all approaches.

PY 620 Behavior Therapy. Three hours.
Provides a framework for conceptualizing, assessing, and treating child and adult clinical problems from the perspective of behavioral psychology.

PY 621 Psychotherapy Laboratory. One hour.
A skills-building seminar emphasizing interview and communications techniques. Introduction to practicum.

PY 625 Contemporary Issues in Cognitive Research. One to three hours.
Current issues relating to research in cognitive and individual differences are presented and discussed.

PY 627 Developmental Disabilities. Three hours.
An introduction to the study of deviations in development from a cognitive, behavioral, and biological perspective.

PY 629 Cognitive Neuroscience. Three hours.
The study of brain mechanisms of perception and thought through a variety of methodological approaches (e.g., lesions, brain imaging, and normal subject experiments).

PY 631 Practicum in Psychology I. One to three hours.
Prerequisites: PY 619.
Supervised experience in psychotherapeutic procedures in an approved clinical facility; seminars and case conferences.

PY 633 Practicum in Psychology III. Three hours.
Supervised experience in psychotherapy in groups.

PY 637 Practicum in Psychology VII. Three hours.
Supervised field placement in a forensic or criminal justice setting.

PY 639 Practicum in Psychology IX. One to three hours.
Prerequisites: PY 631 and PY 632.
Intensive experience with a variety of child and family disorders and therapy techniques. Exposure to interdisciplinary treatment settings and personnel.

PY 641 Advanced Clinical Placement. One to three hours.
Prerequisites: PY 631 and PY 632. Supervised experience in an approved setting.
Primary clinical supervision by faculty or licensed psychologist at a placement facility.

PY 642 Practicum in Psychology XI. One to three hours.
Supervised experience in clinical geropsychology.


PY 645 Advanced Assessment Practicum.  Three hours.

Provides practical experience in adult diagnostic and personality assessment.

PY 650 Cognition and Learning. Three hours.
Contemporary approaches to cognition and learning. A broad survey, with in-depth looks at selected topics including attention and memory.

PY 651 Physiological Psychology. Three hours.
Prerequisite: One year of biology desirable.
Examination of bodily structures—nervous, muscular, and glandular—that underlie behavior.

PY 652 Life-Span Developmental Psychology. Three hours.
An integrated view of the development, stability, and decline of several behavioral processes rooted in the physical growth, cognition, and socialization of the individual over the span of life.

PY 658 Psychopathology. Three hours.
Prerequisite: PY 358.
A survey of manifestations of abnormal behavior, and the diagnosis of abnormal behavior and mental disorders.

PY 659 Psychometrics. Three hours.
Theoretical issues in the construction, evaluation, and application of psychological measures.

PY664 Seminar in Psychometrics. One hour.

Prerequisite: Clinical Psychology graduate student.

Overview of Psychometric principles used to evaluate psychological test instruments.

PY 666 Child Treatment. Three hours. Prerequisite: PY 658.
Examines diagnosis and treatment of childhood disorders from empirical, theoretical, and practical standpoints.

PY 668 Theory of Personality. Three hours.
An examination of contemporary frames of reference relating to personality, with emphasis on contrasting implications of alternative personality interpretations.

PY 669 Seminar in Clinical Child Psychology. One hour.
Issues in research and practice of clinical child psychology.

PY 670 Perception. Three hours.
An introduction to issues and concepts in the study of perception. Fundamental theoretical and empirical controversies are analyzed.

PY 671 History and Systems in Psychology. Three hours.
Systematic points of view placed in historical perspective.

PY 672 Advanced Social Psychology. Three hours.
Major aspects of social psychology including attitude change, attribution theory, aggression, altruism, prejudice, interpersonal relations, and group dynamics.

PY 676 Criminal Forensic Assessment. Three hours.
Familiarizes students with relevant issues in criminal forensic assessment and introduces them to current forensic assessment instruments.

PY 677 Correctional Psychology: Method, Theory, and Research. Three hours.
A comprehensive review of psychological principles, theory, and techniques related to problems of crime, corrections, and offenders.

PY 678 Forensic Psychology. Three hours.
The application of clinical psychology to forensic and legal issues. Competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, testamentary capacity, jury decision making and dynamics, jury selection, and expert witness testimony.

PY 679 Seminar in Psychology/Law. One hour.
Issues in research and practice of psychology as related to the law.


PY 680 Psychopharmocology. Three hours.

Physiological bases and therapeutic action of psychotropic medications.

PY 681 Readings in Psychology. One to three hours.
Prerequisite: Permission and sponsorship of an instructor.
Selected supervised readings.

PY 687 Clinical Psychology of Aging. Three hours.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
A survey of clinical geropsychology including review of major disorders experienced by older adults, assessment issues, and treatments used in work with older adults.

PY 688 Seminar in Adult Clinical Psychology. One hour.
Issues in research and practice related to adult clinical psychology.

PY 690 Cultural Competency. Three hours.
This seminar emphasizes the role of ethnicity, class, culture, gender, sexual orientation, and disability in mental health, and the impact of these factors on assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.

PY 691 Seminar in Clinical Psychology. One to three hours.
Selected topics.

PY 693 Seminar in Advanced General Psychology. One to three hours.
Prerequisite: variable depending on topic.

Selected topics.

PY 695 Teaching of Psychology. Three hours.
Prerequisite: Permission of the department.
Principles of teaching and supervised experience.

PY 698 Graduate Research. One to three hours.
Independent research by the advanced graduate student.

PY 699 Dissertation Research. Variable credit. Three-hour minimum.



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